I have multiple devices, all handled with iTunes in the same PC. Each device is associated with a different Apple ID.

I may want to install some apps in more than one device. As far as I know, an app downloaded in iTunes leaves a .ipa file that has embedded the information about the associated Apple ID (in directory C:\userdir\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications in my Win7).

Is that correct?

If so, is there any way to know the associated Apple ID, for each .ipa file? Will I have more than one copy of an .ipa file in my PC, if the app is purchased with more than one ID? Where will each one be stored?

And if not, where is the information about which Apple IDs were used to download each app stored? Can it be retrieved?

PS: This question has a title that describes well the present one. But the question itself asks something a little bit different, and the accepted answer is OK for that question, but it by no means answers this one.

PS2: This is a related question.

EDIT: There is a sign on top stating

This question may already have an answer here:
Retrieve the Apple ID used to download a given app (in iphone)

That is precisely the question referred to in PS2. I have posted that one too, and it is a different question (with no answers so far).

  • Isn't the apple ID stored in a .plist file? Try to access it by showing the contents of the .ipa file on your mac. – Jules Dec 19 '14 at 22:31
  • @Jules - As said in the question, I have Win 7. Can I still see the contents of the .ipa? – sancho.s Reinstate Monica Dec 19 '14 at 23:12
  • Does not the Apple Store shows the downloaded apps for each account? – Ruskes Dec 19 '14 at 23:41
  • @Buscar웃 - As said in the PS, there is another question for which this is an option. But it does not answer my question. – sancho.s Reinstate Monica Dec 20 '14 at 0:15
  • @Buscar웃 - It is not a dupe. I have posted both questions, and they refer to different things (one is for iTunes, in Win 7, and the other is for iphone). – sancho.s Reinstate Monica Dec 20 '14 at 1:32

If you can copy something.ipa file to a temporary location and rename it to something.zip, then a standard unzip program will be able to show you the contents of the archive. In the top folder is iTunesMetatdata.plist, which you should be able to open in a text editor. Near the top would be a line for appleId, followed by the appleId which was used to download this version of this application.

If multiple IDs have purchased the same application, you would still only have one version on the computer.

  • Excellent!! Straight to the point, and it worked +1. And then how would I install the app in both devices? Will it be enough with that single .ipa? – sancho.s Reinstate Monica Dec 20 '14 at 2:17
  • If both accounts have been "associated" with the computer (each account is limited to five computers) then any device which is synced to that computer can load apps from either account when the device syncs. There is no limit AFAIK to the number of devices which can be synced from a computer. – Kent Dec 20 '14 at 3:31

I'd be inclined to set up Family Sharing even if the 'family' is all 'you'.

Then it wouldn't matter which account had bought any given app. All music & apps can be used under all the accounts, yet 'personal' things such as email, iMessage, Calendars etc are not cross-pollinated.

.ipa files are tagged with the purchaser's ID [though I don't know how] & cannot be transferred to another ID, unless Family Sharing is used, or unless the devices are Jailbroken [about which I know little]

  • That is something that helps with handling. But still the questions remain. – sancho.s Reinstate Monica Dec 19 '14 at 20:49
  • still without actually answering your question - each ipa is tagged with the id [in whatever way] which actively prevents its being added to any other device, unless jailbroken. If you need jailbreak solutions, please say so. – Tetsujin Dec 19 '14 at 21:02
  • 1
    1) I am not looking for anything related to a jailbreak. 2) I am not interested in adding an ipa associated to an ID to a device associated with other ID (thanks for the info, anyway). 3) I guess your answer to the first question is YES. If so, it would be good to post it in the answer, instead of a comment. And I am still interested in knowing the answers to the following 3 questions. – sancho.s Reinstate Monica Dec 19 '14 at 21:06
  • added ipd/ID info to answer. I know nothing about jailbreaking, having never used it. SE is one question, one answer, if you need other specifics, could you break them out to new questions. Makes the end results more searchable, long-term. Hacking questions will be closed, btw. – Tetsujin Dec 19 '14 at 21:12
  • 1
    The questions posted here are all tightly related, and I think it makes no sense to post them separately. No hacking is intended, and I see no reason for you to guess it might (judging from your insistence). – sancho.s Reinstate Monica Dec 19 '14 at 21:24

I believe apps can be transferred to another device with different ID

  • We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. – Tetsujin Apr 13 '16 at 12:22

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